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MEMS Technology Was First

MEMS Technology Was First

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Published by dian ratnasari

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Published by: dian ratnasari on Aug 22, 2009
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05/11/2014

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MEMS
technology was firstdeveloped in the 1960s to makepressure sensors for aerospaceand industrial applications, butits popularity exploded in theearly 1980s with the emergence of two high-volume applications: automotive pressuresensors for pollution control, and disposableblood pressure sensors. About the sametime, researchers began to explore the possi-bility of using
MEMS
for microrelays, displaydevices, and accelerometers used in automo-bile air-bag deployment systems, which iscurrently one of the biggest markets for
MEMS
technology.
Mr. Fishman, CEO of Analog Devices, believed that from a pricing and profitabilityperspective, the analog segment was the best place to be within the semiconductorindustry. But there had been periods during which growth seemed less than assureRay [Stata] has
always
felt that the analog business does not growenough to make us a truly great company. And in the late 1980s, itwas hard to disagree. Our customers were primarily in the military andindustrial sectors, and it appeared that growth would never againexceed 10% per year. We wanted to find other ways to take ourtechnology and build a large company. So we looked to diversifyThough these facts certainly created some motivation, Mr. Fishman was cautiousabout diversification efforts. In his experience, getting new ventures to profitabilityalways required much more time and much more capital than anyone was ever able to anticipateMeanwhile, the company’s founder, Mr. Stata, was more worried about theimplications of 
not 
trying to diversify. In his view, it was the CEO’s primary job to“manage the S-curve.” The S-curve described the tendency of new businesses to growslowly at first, then accelerate, than taper off to a mature, slow growth rate. Thetrick in diversification was to move into new markets early in their S-curves—just asolder products reached maturity. Mr. Stata described his philosophy:
 
It is all about detecting and managing the points of inflection. Onecan always do that with greater wisdom in hindsight, of course. Butnonetheless there needs to be a sensitivity to the fact that everythinghas a life, and you always have to be looking beyond that life. ADIhas been through some very significant transformations. The primary job of the CEO is to sense and respond…with the benefit of inputsfrom the organization…and to be at least an encouraging sponsor for those who see the futurein Mr. Stata’s view, it was impossible to invest in several new venturessimultaneously—doing so would starve existing, profitable product lines of neededcapital. He believed that investing 10-15% of the R&D budget in new opportunitiesthat were at the margin of the core business (as opposed to opportunities eitherclosely related or completely unrelated to the core business) was sensible in the longrunThree product line general managers reported to ADI’s CEO, Mr. Fishman: analog,DSPs, and MEMS. Figure X shows revenues over time for each segment. Mr.Fishman’s other direct reports included heads of global sales and manufacturingorganizations, plus a CFO, a Vice President of Human Resources, and head of research. Heads of marketing, product development, business development, andlogistics reported to each product line general managerFellows knew that they had a real opportunity to change the direction of thecompany. They had a direct channel of communication to the CEO and the Board. InMr. Stata’s view, it was impossible for the CEO to understand all of the possibilitiesin the market without the direct input of the Fellows, especially since the market wasso technical. Mr. Stata described the rationale for allowing Fellows to bypass business unit managers“Customers want you to continue doing what you are doing, if youare doing it well, and of course the managers running successfulbusinesses within the company just want more and more resources toserve their customers. Taking resources away from successful businesses and devoting them to high-risk experiments is anathema tobusiness unit managers…it can only be done at the top of thecompany.While the Fellows program was motivating, some members of the senior managementteam, particularly those that were financially oriented, expressed some skepticism.

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